As we start approaching the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, you may start thinking about ways you can not only give to your family but also to others in need.

Why not "Adopt a Guardsman"? Cynthia Valenta is the chapter lead of the Cedar Rapids Military Mama Network. The local chapter of this national non-profit organization has been in existence for about a year and a half. Their mission is to support all branches of the military, veterans, their families and loved ones.

We do that through card support, care packages, emergency resources, and any other ways needed.  We have helped deployed send flowers for anniversaries, gifts for children,  relief in times of family crisis, and so many other ways.

One way they are doing it again this year is through their "Adopt a Guardsman" program. All individuals, businesses, and organizations are encouraged to put together "care packages" to send off to our servicemen and women this holiday season.

Once you've signed up, you'll be committed to send one monthly care package to your "adopted" soldier and their family between January and May.

You will then be given a soldier's name with they and their family's personal wishlist of items, but according to Ms. Valenta some examples of the most commonly requested items range from snack food items like popcorn, fruit cups, pudding cups, prepackaged cookies, candy and microwaveable items to toys, puzzles, games, movies, books and more, even things like wet wipes, as well as cards, letters and:

self addressed envelope- I know for a fact that they will want to send thank yous!!

Items not allowed include glass, fireworks, or any flammable or illegal items.

If you would like to help, pick up standard flat-rate shipping boxes at your local post office or get them by contacting Cynthia by e-mail at or by telephone at 319-431-4481. Care packages should be limited to 75 pounds and shipping will cost around $18.

Their tentative deadline for sign-up is December 15, 2017.

So, go to their website or join their Facebook group to learn how to participate.